4 star review in the Standard for Can I Have My Ball Back?

Richard Herring at Leicester Square Theatre review: surprisingly uplifting despite its dark subject-matter

The stand-up sheds light on his cancer diagnosis, which has given him new perspective on life

Comedians currently seem fixated on their mortality. Miles Jupp talks about his brain tumour onstage. Janey Godley and Rhod Gilbert discuss their cancer. It is a topic Richard Herring also reflects on entertainingly and thoughtfully in his new show.
The title speaks volumes. Can I Have My Ball Back? tells you immediately what cancer Herring had. It also tells you that despite being deep into his 50s, he still possesses that childish joker streak that first emerged when he was in a double act with Stewart Lee three decades ago.

His story is both generic and distinctive. Having never given any thought to his testicles – "very much the backing singers" – a twinge prompted a visit to a doctor, who was so confident it was not cancer he was prepared to bet on it. 
Herring has much fun imagining the scenario of his GP finding a bookie to accept this unusual wager.
But maybe the cancer had been eerily foreshadowed. He had previously gigged with a "Hitler moustache" – the facial hair of the world's most notorious mono-ball. He wrote a hit called Talking Cock, in praise of the penis. Were his backing singers having their revenge for being sidelined?
Needless to say the doctor would have lost his bet. Herring was swiftly treated thanks to impressive NHS efficiency and the offending article excised. 
The description of how a testicle is removed has prompted previous audience members to faint. It was merely a case of collective wincing on press night.
Spoiler alert, Herring survived. In the second half he dissects the experience and what it has taught him. While the narrative is full of his trademark juvenilia, Herring's tale also heralds a late-flowering maturity.
His brush with death has given him a new perspective. At one point he recalls breaking down at the thought of his children growing up fatherless. Could he cut a deal with God and have a few more years before his widow finds a cowboy-booted usurper to take his place and slurp his whisky?
He now has different priorities. Family comes first. Cracking self-mocking gags is less important. Which is not to say he is going to stop, thank goodness. It is his way of processing what happened.
This is funny, uplifting, poignant and also an important public service announcement. As if men need any encouragement, examine yourself regularly, says Herring. 
Survival rates are high for early diagnosis. If concerned see a doctor who will know if it is a rice crispie stuck on your scrotum or something that requires further investigation. Check out this show, but also check your balls.
Bloomsbury Theatre, June 7, Leicester Square Theatre, June 9 and touring. Buy tickets here

Review here https://www.standard.co.uk/culture/comedy/richard-herring-at-leicester-square-theatre-review-comedy-b1156552.html